Destiny’s Curse

DISCLAIMER: All characters in this story are “property” of Star Trek: Voyager and
Paramount except Ensign Willderman. Ensign Kayla was introduced in one of the Voyager
books. Much Ado About Nothing is the property of William Shakespeare and his living
associates. This is a pretty much innocent story, so you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Much Ado About.. Something
by Ann Nonnimus

“What’s this all about, Chakotay?” asked Janeway, mystified. All she got
in answer was a slight chuckle from her first officer.
“Chakotay.” said Janeway, confusion growing. In response, Chakotay
stood and walked to the window of the captain’s Ready Room. Janeway smiled
and shook her finger at him chastisingly. “You’re hiding something.” she said.
Chakotay turned. “Why, yes I am.” He returned her smile, and, as
difficult as it is for a man of his stature to look impish, this is precisely what he
did.
Janeway tossed up her hands in consternation. “All right! I have no idea
what you’re up to, but all right!”
“Good!” exclaimed Chakotay. “Holodeck 2, at 1900 hours. Be there.”
“Believe me,” said Janeway as he left the room, “I will.”

Janeway stood in her quarters, surveying her appearance. Her long hair
was braided and wrapped about her head. She wore a long sleeved, pale blue,
satin dress that she used to become Lady Baymin of Bajor on one of her Holodeck
programs. Chakotay had told her to wear something “formal,” and this was the
best she had.
Problem was, the skirt of the dress was too darn long. She had to pick it
up to walk. Truth to tell, she felt that all she needed was a shawl, and she could
be walking the English moors.
As she approached Holodeck 2, she saw Harry Kim and Chakotay
“guarding” the entrance. Harry’s jaw dropped when he saw her, Janeway noticed
with some amusement, but he quickly regained composure. Chakotay looked
completely natural in the suit he was wearing, but Harry seemed ill at ease.
“All right, gentlemen, here I am.” she announced. “Are you going to let
me in, or do I have to call Security?”
Harry and Chakotay bowed deeply. “Entrez, madame.” they said together,
straightfaced. They made sweeping gestures to the door, which Janeway would
have found comical if she’d not been so confused.
The doors slid open, and Janeway stepped through into a magnificent
ballroom.
Huge chandeliers hung from the ceiling, lit dimly, and a holographic band
played in one corner. People were talking, dancing, relaxing; but when they saw
the captain, they burst into a thunderous round of applause.
Kes, lovely as ever in a flowing lavender dress, ran to the captain and gave
her an unexpected hug. “Happy birthday, Captain Janeway.” she said.
Chakotay smiled down at the now beaming captain. “Yes, happy birthday,
Kathryn.” she said.
“I don’t know what to say.” said Janeway.
“Don’t thank me,” said Chakotay. He gestured to Kes, then reached
behind him and shoved Harry forward. “They were partners in crime to plan this
whole ordeal.” Harry blushed.
Janeway looked over at Harry. “How long did you keep this from me?”
Harry blushed again. “About a month, ma’am.”
“Even I forgot it was my birthday today.” admitted Janeway. “Thank you
for remembering.”
Neelix scurried up to the assembled crowd. “Captain Janeway, you look
stunning!”
“Thank you, Neelix.” said Janeway.
“May I have the honor of escorting you onto the dance floor?” he asked.
“You may.” replied Janeway.
As they departed, Chakotay heard a voice from behind him. “Don’t
worry, Chakotay.” it said. “I’ll make sure Neelix doesn’t monopolize her the
whole evening.” Chakotay turned around. It was Tom Paris. The former opened
his mouth to say something, but Paris simply winked and walked away to talk to
Harry.
Meanwhile, Kes approached Tuvok, who was sitting alone at a table in the
far corner of the room. “Dance with me, Tuvok.” she insisted.
Tuvok raised an eyebrow. “Thank you for the invitation, Kes, but I do not
dance.”
Kes looked hurt. “Why not?”
“I simply do not feel a need.”
Kes looked away with a sly smile. “You mean you don’t know how.”
Tuvok shifted uncomfortably. “I most certainly do. However, reverse
psychology inevitably fails with me.”
Kes listened to the beat. “It’s a waltz, if I remember what Harry taught
me. Pretty complicated. I don’t blame you if you don’t know how to do it.”
“I told you,” said Tuvok, “that I do.”
“Prove it.” said Kes.
“You leave me little choice.”

“Good job, Harry.” said Paris. “I’m very impressed.”
“Thanks.” muttered Harry. “Most of it was Kes’ idea.”
“Well, take some of the credit.”
“Yeah.” Harry trailed off and stared over Paris’ shoulder at the dance
floor.
Tom eyed him curiously. By now, he could read Harry like a book, and he
could tell what he was thinking right then. “Don’t be shy.” said Paris. When
Harry shot him a puzzled glance, Paris just shrugged. “Ask B’Elanna. She’ll
dance with you.”
Harry blushed. “I can’t, Tom. I get nervous- I mean, not just with her,
with anyone!”
“Oh, come on. It’s not like you’re proposing to her or anything.”
Harry narrowed his eyes. “Funny.” He shook his head. “Libby would
laugh at me.”
“Yes, I believe she would.” said Tom, rolling his eyes. “Anyone would.”
“You’re not.” Harry pointed out.
Tom paused. “I’m laughing on the inside. You’re acting like a high-
schooler. Look. I know. The doctor’ll dance with you.”
“Thanks a lot.” said Kim. “I don’t see YOU out there.”
Tom put a hand to his heart. “I have to console my poor, misguided,
ludicrously shy pal here.”
“No, you don’t. I can take care of myself.”
“Uh huh. Sure.” said Tom. He saw Ensign Kayla wandering aimlessly
around the room, and when Harry wasn’t looking, Tom pointed at him. Kayla
smiled and walked over to them.
“Hello, Harry.” she said softly.
Harry whipped around. “Oh. Hello.”
Paris cleared his throat. “I think I’m just going to get a drink.” he said,
and left the 2 alone. On the way over, he noticed B’Elanna sitting by herself.
Deciding to remedy that, he walked to her table.
“Enjoying yourself?” he asked, sitting down.
Not looking at him, she answered, “I guess.”
“You look like it. Get up and dance.” he said. B’Elanna mumbled
something he couldn’t hear. “What’s that?”
“I don’t know how!” burst B’Elanna. “I don’t want to embarrass myself.”
She sipped the almost full drink in front of her, then slammed it down. “And I
HATE synthehol.” she muttered.
“Dancing’s easy. It’s just like those combat programs you do on the
Holodeck. You just have to move your feet the right way.” He stood and held
out a hand. “Come on. I’ll teach you.”
B’Elanna raised an eyebrow. “Believe me,” said Tom truthfully, “there’s
nothing I’d enjoy more.”
“OK.” said B’Elanna, standing. “They’re YOUR feet.”

Janeway laughed musically in Chakotay’s ear. “What is it?” he asked.
“Look, Chakotay!” she exclaimed. Chakotay glimpsed over her shoulder.
What he saw made him chuckle as well. Over at the edge of the floor, Tom Paris
was patiently teaching a frustrated B’Elanna Torres a simple dance step.
Actually, she wasn’t doing too poorly. She was a quick learner.
“This is so much fun.” breathed Janeway. “I was never expecting
something like this.”
“Well,” admitted Chakotay, “Kes and Harry told me what they were
planning, and I think they’ve gone above and beyond what any of us were
expecting.”

“Are you having a good time, Doctor?” asked Kes.
“This is fascinating.” was his reply. “All the different interactions,
chances for me to pick up some new information. I’ll definitely have to write
about this in my log.”
Kes smiled. “I think a lot of people will.” she said.
“I’ve even learned a few new steps.” continued the Doctor jovially. “For
instance, Ensign Willderman taught me this.” Surprisingly, he dipped Kes
backwards over his arm. Her long blonde hair almost brushed the floor before he
whipped her back up again.
“You’re a superb dancer.” Kes said, a trifle flustered.
“Thank you, Kes.” said the Doctor.

“I think you’ve got it.” said Tom, taking a step back.
B’Elanna cleared her hair from her face. “Really?” she asked. “Do you
think so?”
“Yep.” replied Tom, offering her his arm. “Care to try it out?”
B’Elanna smiled and took his arm. All she had to remember as they
danced was to not think about or look at her feet.
Well, that was ALMOST all she had to remember. “Ouch.” hissed Tom.
“Sorry.” she replied sheepishly.
“No, no, it’s OK. You’re new at this.” he replied.
After awhile, the music slowed. “Oh.” said B’Elanna, “I don’t know this
one.” She tried to step back, but Tom held her firmly.
“This is one everyone can do.” he told her. “If you know how to sway,
that is.”
“Sway?” asked B’Elanna, amused.
“Yeah.” said Tom. “That’s all it is.” He pulled her a little closer and
looked at her, his blue eyes glinting as he smiled.
“I think I’m getting the hang of it.” she said.
“There’s. not much to it.” he replied, still smiling.
“Oh, thanks.” said B’Elanna in mock insult.
She rested her head on his shoulder. She was sure- damn sure- that she
could hear his heart pounding. Maybe not. Maybe it was only her own. She cast
her eyes upwards slightly. If he DID feel something, his face betrayed nothing.
He was resting his chin lightly in her hair. Suddenly, it seemed perfectly natural
for her to be dancing with him, a man she had disliked intensely up until. well,
when, exactly? She couldn’t remember.
Tom, also, was in a state of what Tuvok might call “mental flux.” He was
absolutely sure that B’Elanna was just stringing him along, she was just messing
with his head.
Then again, there was always that part of him that hoped she wasn’t.
He tried to keep his breathing regular. To even it out, he sighed deeply,
causing her head to rise and fall. Except for her feet, she didn’t budge.
Tom Paris was not what a lot of people would call a “romantic.” Right
now, as he looked at B’Elanna’s closed eyes and her hand that was holding his, he
did something that surprised even him.
He shivered.
B’Elanna pretended not to notice.

As the evening drew to a close, Janeway thanked everyone for coming.
People started to drift away, sometimes singly, others in groups.
Tom left by himself. He had a lot of things on his mind, and had been
quite distant for the last half of the evening. He had danced with B’Elanna one
other time, and the steady swaying seemed, to the casual observer (Kes), to put
him in some sort of hypnotic trance.
Kes now followed him from the Holodeck. She caught up with him near
the turbolift. “Hello, Tom.” she said softly. “Did you have a nice evening?”
Tom blinked and looked down at her. “Yeah. I did. And yourself?”
“Oh, I had a wonderful time.” Kes sighed, twirling around in place.
“Everything was perfect.” She looked at him slyly, and smiled a little. “How was
B’Elanna? I didn’t talk to her much.”
Tom seemed to snap out of a daze. As they entered the Turbolift he
replied, “Uh, she’s fine.”
The doors closed. “Deck 4.” said Kes. She turned to face her friend.
“What’s up, Tom?” she asked.
“What do you mean?” Tom looked genuinely puzzled.
Kes waved it off. “It’s nothing.” She paused. “Look, I know it’s none of
my business, but I didn’t really need and psychic ability to sense some.” she
trailed off as they left the Turbolift, searching for the right word, “.spark
between you 2.”
“Spark?” asked Tom.
“For lack of a better word.” She stopped abruptly outside her quarters and
looked up at him. It took Tom a moment to realize that she was expecting a
response.
“Something,” he sighed, knowing it was no use lying to her, “seemed to
click. Like it was right.”
“How?”
He tried to think of an analogy. “When you work with the Doctor, has
there ever been case where you knew you had to make one modification, and then
it would work?”
Kes thought about it. “Yes.” she said.
“It’s like that.” said Tom helplessly.
“It’s interesting to watch you and B’Elanna.” said Kes. “You seem to
have a constant battle of wits going, but there’s an energy there, a link that makes
you so connected with each other- like you can read each other’s thoughts.
Sometimes,” she confided, “I find myself getting a little envious.
“And it’s a little unlikely that you’d get along as well as you do. When
one of you says something, the other just shoots right back. You’re so completely
alike and yet. entirely different.”
Tom sighed and ran his hands through his hair. “I don’t know if she sees
it that way.”
Kes shrugged, as if this was no big deal. “Ask her.”
Tom laughed. “I can’t do that!”
“Why not?” When Tom failed to answer, Kes smiled. “Tom Paris, the
person who doesn’t care what anyone thinks about him, find himself anxious
around B’Elanna Torres!”
Tom shrugged in frustration. “I don’t know. Maybe you’re right.”
“I don’t think you have to worry. I think B’Elanna sees you the way a lot
of people do. You’re dedicated, talented, you care about people. she told me
about the time you 2 were trapped in that iceworld habitat, or whatever it was.
She said that you both had had a spar earlier, but you didn’t let her give up when
she felt like just waiting to freeze to death.”
“Any officer would have done that.” insisted Tom.
“She’s very grateful to you.” said Kes solemnly. There was silence for a
moment. “I guess my question is: how do you feel about her?”
Tom sighed, shoulders sagging. “I don’t know right now.”
Kes smiled and put a hand on his shoulder. “No rush to find out. But
when you have, let 2 people know; yourself, and her. From there, destiny kicks
in.” She turned to go. “Good night, Lieutenant Paris.”
Her doors swished open and Tom headed away. Suddenly, he turned.
“Kes?” She faced him again. Tom smiled gratefully. “Thanks.”

“Janeway to Torres. B’Elanna, there’s a slight variation in the Plasma
coolant levels- still within a tolerable level, but I’d like you to check it out.”
“Understood.” There was a pause. “I could use some help, though.”
“I’ve already sent Harry down.” replied the captain.
Sure enough, in moments, Harry arrived in Engineering. He walked over
to where B’Elanna was standing, at one of the stations near the engine.
As they began working, it was silent except for the pulsing hum of the
engines. “I can’t find any reason for this fluctuation.” mumbled B’Elanna.
“Maybe one of the relays is offline.” suggested Harry. “Is there a
microtransmitter down here?”
No answer.
“B’Elanna!” he said sharply. B’Elanna gave a startled jump and shook her
head slightly.
“Yeah, there is, under that conduit.” Harry got the transmitter and pulled
off the panel’s front.
“Yeah, it’s a relay. This should do it.” he said, fixing it. He put the front
back on the console. “There.”
“I should have caught that.” said B’Elanna.
“It’s a simple thing to overlook.” shrugged Harry. He headed out of
Engineering, then stopped. “B’Elanna, is there something wrong?”
“What makes you think that?” asked B’Elanna.
“You’re acting funny.”
“Am I?”
“Yes.”
“Oh.” B’Elanna blinked. “It’s nothing for you to worry about, Starfleet.”
Harry walked over to her. “So, there IS something wrong.”
“Yes. No. You could say that. It’s nothing big.” She sputtered. Harry
gave her a Look. “Have you ever been able to read someone’s mind?”
“Literally? No. Have you and Kes been studying together?”
B’Elanna sighed again. “Not like that. Just. you look at someone, and
you can tell what they’re thinking.” She took a deep breath. “What if you and a
person hadn’t really gotten along for a long time, and then something happens,
and you have all these different thoughts attacking you from the inside, and
you’re not sure WHAT’S going on, and-”
Harry decided to put a stop to her ranting. He stepped forward and caught
her shoulders. “B’Elanna, B’Elanna! Slow down!” He gave her a slight shake,
then released her. “OK. Now. Was that whole tirade about Tom?”
B’Elanna glared at him. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Harry adopted a “Don’t- Give- Me- That” stance. “B’Elanna, I’m your
friend. I’m not blind.”
“And what does that mean?”
“It means that I’m probably not the only one who noticed something. If
anyone, he did. I’ve had that look myself. I was in the clouds for days when I
first met Libby.”
“But I didn’t just meet him!” hissed B’Elanna. Then, realizing that what
she’d said was irreversible, she turned, biting her lip and wincing.
“Doesn’t matter.” said Harry. “If I know Tom, he’s just as confused as
you are. He’s just better at hiding it.”
B’Elanna raised her eyebrow. “Is he?”
In a confiding tone, Harry said, “To tell you the truth, I think that if you
decide to build on this, he won’t push you away.” He looked up. “I’ve got to get
back to the bridge.” He walked out of Engineering.
B’Elanna sighed and rested her chin in her hand. “I hope he doesn’t.”

“Oh, my. Harry, are you all right?” asked Kes in alarm. Harry walked
into Sickbay, guided by Tom- the former had blood streaming off his forehead.
“Sit down, over here.”
“I’ve never seen a cue ball skip quite like that.” said Tom apologetically.
Harry sat. “Yeah. It’s OK, Tom, really.” Tom nodded and left the
Sickbay.
Kes assessed the damage, asking, “What happened?”
Harry sighed. “We were playing pool on the Holodeck, and Tom wasn’t
really paying attention. He hit the cue ball so heard that- it ricocheted off the
edge of the pool table and hit me in the head.”
Kes tried not to laugh as she ran her instrument over the wound. Its
pulsing red light began to heal it quickly. “You know,” continued Harry, “if he
and B’Elanna don’t figure out something soon, Tom’s going to kill someone.”
Kes stopped, startled. “You know about that?”
“I think the whole ship knows by now. Just seeing them together the other
night cinched it, you know?”
“I do know what you mean.” said Kes. “Knowing Tom and B’Elanna,
though, they’ll avoid a `confrontation’ as long as possible.”
“Yeah.” Harry looked deep in thought. “They could use a little help.” he
said. “You up to it?”
Kes looked aghast at the idea. Then, she thought about it. “What kind of
help?”
Harry jumped off the table. “I read a play in middle school by a 16th
century Earth playwright named William Shakespeare. It was called Much Ado
About Nothing. I’ll show it to you, that’s where my idea comes from.” He held
out a hand. “What do you say, Kes? Partners in crime again?”
Kes smiled, and shook Harry’s hand.

“Computer, set up Kim Program Beta 5.” He turned to Kes and smiled.
“The language Shakespeare used is a little hard to understand.”
“I’ll pay close attention.” said Kes, nodding gravely.
“Program complete. Enter when ready.”
The 2 stepped through the doors into a royal courtyard. By them was a
fountain, bushes, and marble statues. From behind one of the bushes, Harry and
Kes could see a man, who was obviously hiding from 3 other men at the fountain.
As the men at the fountain spoke, Kes listened closely.
With a wink, a young man said, “Come hither, Leonato. What was it you
told me today? That Lady Beatrice was in love with Signor Benedick?”
The ginger haired man behind the bush boggled. Another young man
whispered inaudibly, “Bait the hook well, this fish will bite!”
The oldest of the 3 continued to talk. Kes asked quietly, “Is any of what
they’re saying true?”
“No.” answered Kim. “Benedick and Beatrice don’t like each other at all,
and Prince Don Pedro, Count Claudio, and Leonato are trying to change that.”
“I should think this a trick,” mused Benedick, the ginger haired one, “but
that the grey bearded fellow speaks it.” He leaned forward to get a better earshot.
“If she should make tender of her love,” sighed Don Pedro, “’tis very
possible he’ll scorn it, for the man, as you know all, hath a contemptible spirit.”
“They’re very clever.” said Kes. The 3 men stood and headed out of the
courtyard, Claudio chuckling, “If he doth not dote upon her with this I shall never
trust my expectation.”
Benedick began muttering to himself, “Love me! why, it must be
requited.” and “When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think that I should
live `til I were married.”
With this, the program faded. “What do you think?” asked Harry.
Kes smiled. “I think we can do it.”
Harry grinned widely. “Even in 800 years, things haven’t changed.”
“How does the play turn out?” Kes inquired eagerly.
“Well, they pull the same thing on Beatrice later in the play. Benedick
and Beatrice fall in love with each other, and end up getting married.” Harry said.
Kes breathed in happily. “How wonderful.” she sighed. “Do you think
this will work?”
“I hope so.” Harry replied, touching his now healed forehead.

Tom sat alone in the mess hall, making corrections to a report and sipping
coffee. It didn’t taste very good, but at this hour, anything to keep him awake.
Harry strode in, almost cheerfully. Tom marvelled at the energy reserves
of the young ensign, who quickly spotted Tom and came to sit with him.
“Pulling an all- nighter?” he asked.
“You could say that.” said Tom.
“I was just finishing up some things, and Chakotay said you were here.”
“Mm.” mumbled Tom, not really paying attention.
Casually, Harry added, “Have you spoken to B’Elanna today? She said
she wanted to talk to you about the other night.”
Tom very slowly set down his coffee cup and stared straight ahead. “The
other night?” he asked innocently.
Harry decided to play dumb- this was more fun than he’d expected.
“Yeah. She was acting all fluttery and anxious- not much like herself, really.
Then she’d just kind of stare off with this weird look on her face. kind of like
what you’re doing now.”
Tom coughed and looked at Harry. “Is that. all she said?”
Harry pretended to think. “Pretty much. Except she kind of mumbled, `I
wonder if I should forget the whole thing.’ Oh, well, it’s really none of my
business. I’ll see you tomorrow.” With that, Harry left the mess hall, grinning
like a maniac.

Earlier that evening, B’Elanna had come to Sickbay to look at the Bio-
force field, which Kes said wa malfunctioning. As she did this, Kes, filling
hyposprays, asked, “Has Tom been acting strange lately, to you?”
Pause. “Strange how?”
“Well, he was in here earlier, and I treated him for a bad headache.”
Which was true. “He asked me if I’d seen you recently.” Which wasn’t. “I said
yes, I had, and asked why. He said there was no real reason, exactly, but then he
asked me if you seemed any different.”
Another pause.
“And?”
“Well, I said not really, and he looked somehow disappointed.”
“Disappointed?” asked B’Elanna incredulously.
“Yes. Then he stood up and virtually ran out of Sickbay.” Kes said.
“How odd.”
“I thought so.” said Kes. “But, then again, you know Tom.”
“I thought I did.” mused B’Elanna.
“Did you say something?” asked Kes.
“No. Your force field’s fine. I’ve got to go.” This said, B’Elanna walked
quickly away.
The Doctor emerged from his office. “You should take up acting, Kes.”
Kes smiled. “Thank you, Doctor.”

Tom exited the Turbolift as if shot froma cannon. All he wanted to do was
to get to his quarters and mull things over. “I’m tired.” he thought. “I’m not
thinking clearly.”
However, at the same time he was also thinking, “Is this really possible? I
mean, I’ve got to consider things rationally. No time for that. No TIME? For
God’s sake, we’ll be out here for 70 years! But what if we aren’t? This is
happening now!” If he had been thinking aloud, many people would have
doubted his sanity.
B’Elanna, meanwhile, barreled through the hall, thinking exactly the same
things.
They both sped up. They both rounded the corner. Neither were looking
where they were going. As a result, they crashed into each other.
Recovering, Tom commented, “It’s lucky there isn’t a lot of activity this
hour.”
“Yeah. Lucky.” mumbled B’Elanna, clearing hair from her face. There
was an awkward silence.
Tom cleared his throat. “Ah, were you. looking for me, earlier?”
“Not that I can remember.” said B’Elanna. Another silence. Oh, hell, she
thought. It’s now or never. “I do want to talk to you, though. About. the other
night.”
Tom looked at her sharply. “What about it?”
The look on his face prompted her to sputter out, “Actually, now isn’t the
best time.”
Tom nodded. “Whenever you’re ready.”
As she turned to leave, B’Elanna’s features screwed in frustration. “Oh,
look,” she sighed, “if we wait until later to discuss this, neither of us will
concentrate on our duties. We’ve got to talk, and it might as well be now.”
Tom raised an eyebrow. “Finished?”
She sighed and nodded. “Well, we can’t discuss it here.” she concluded.
“You’re right.” mumbled Tom. “Holodeck?”

Tom pushed a few buttons outside Holodeck 2 (“not currently in use.”).
Moments later, the door slid open, revealing a forest. The trees were enormous,
and B’Elanna strained to see their tops. Faint sunlight gleamed through the
canopy, shining on the russet colored bark. The underbrush was sparse and in
some places, bare.
“Where are we?” she asked.
“These are the California Redwoods on Earth, as they were 500 years ago.
They’re almost gone now.” he replied, almost wistfully.
“Why?” she asked. “Why here?”
Tom shrugged. “The woods have a calming effect on a lot of people.” he
said simply. He sat under one of the huge trees, leaning against it and peering
upwards toward the treetops.
There was a long, thoughtful silence. “So.” said B’Elanna, breaking it.
Tom looked at her. “So?”
She shrugged. “So.” She paused. “This isn’t easy to talk about, you
know.”
“Believe me,” said Tom, knocking his head on the tree, “I know. But it’s
not so easy to just dismiss, either.”
“Good point.” Pause. “So..”
He knocked his head on the tree again. “Are you going to go through this
again?”
“I don’t know how to start!” exclaimed B’Elanna. “Words fail me. You
start.”
Tom laughed. B’Elanna sat in front of him. “I don’t see what’s so funny
about this.” That made him laugh harder.
“Could anyone else be having this conversation?” he asked.
“Ye- ess.” faltered B’Elanna. Then she thought about it. “OK. No. No
one I know, anyway.”
Another pause. “What happened, B’Elanna?”
B’Elanna blinked. “Well, that came from nowhere.” She mulled over the
question. “I don’t know, Tom. How does one answer a question like that?”
“Honestly.” said Tom.
“Something happened, but I don’t know what. That’s the only thing I can
say and still be honest.” she replied helplessly. “What about you? What do you
think?”
“You know,” Tom said, “at one point I was sure I knew that answer. Now
I’m confused.”
He stood and leaned against the tree. B’Elanna told him, “You’re going to
get sap on your uniform.”
“No, I’m not.” he said. “And if I do, it’s just holographic sap. It’ll come
off as soon as I walk out the door.”
There was yet another silence. “So that’s it?” asked B’Elanna. “We just
leave it at that? We’re going to be on this ship for a long time, Tom. Is this going
to blow over, or is it going to be something that sticks in the backs of our minds?”
“Is. what going to stick in our minds?”
“Don’t play dumb.” snapped B’Elanna. For no discernible reason, she
was now visibly angry and began to pace furiously.
“Calm down.” said Tom soothingly. He held out a hand. “Here. We’re
going to figure this out.”
B’Elanna looked at him blankly. “What?”
“Dance with me.” said Tom.
B’Elanna raised an eyebrow and with a small, nervous laugh, said,
“There’s no music.”
Tom shrugged as if this made no difference. “Yeah. We’ll have to
overlook that.”
B’Elanna was still not too sure about this, but nevertheless she allowed
herself to be pulled close to him. Right then, she felt the same thing she had a few
nights ago. She still couldn’t identify it and, truth be told, it was driving her
crazy.
Tom closed his eyes. He had lied. He’d known for awhile now that there
was “something there,” at least on his part, but he didn’t want to scare B’Elanna.
He smiled ruefully. Scare B’Elanna. Yeah, right.
B’Elanna’s head, which had been resting lightly on Tom’s shoulder, now
landed full force. Tom, surprised, pulled back slightly and looked at her. Her
eyes were closed and she started to sag against him. She had fallen asleep.
“Oh, great.” said Tom to himself. He picked her up, and her head flopped
against his chest. He looked down at the restful B’Elanna. “Now what do I do
with you? Computer, time.”
“0246 hours.”
“End program.” The redwoods faded. “I guess I’m pretty boring, huh?”
he said. In response, B’Elanna said nothing. “If I remember correctly, your
quarters are just around the corner. I may look suspicious, but I can’t stand here
and hold you forever. I may as well be talking to myself.” He laughed softly, and
shrugged.
Taking a deep breath, he emerged from the Holodeck. No one was about,
and he headed swiftly for B’Elanna’s quarters. When he reached it, he put her on
her back on her bed. She was smiling faintly.
“Goodnight, B’Elanna.” he said softly. Feeling impulsive, he leaned down
and kissed her gently. He smiled at her, then walked from her quarters-
-and bumped right into Harry Kim, who was going to get some sleep after
getting something for a bout of insomnia.
The stopped and looked at each other. “Tom,” said Harry slowly, “that’s
B’Elanna’s quarters.”
“Yeah.” said Tom, oblivious of his suspicions. “She fell asleep.”
“Did she?”
“Yes.”
“Don’t you think you should have given this more.” Harry searched for
the word, “.thought?”
“I’ve been thinking about it all day.” Tom confessed.
“I can imagine.” muttered Harry.
“The thing is, I can’t remember where all this came from. I guess. I
don’t know.” He yawned hugely. “I’m exhausted.
“Tom,” said Harry, by now quite perplexed, “are you sure rushing into
things like this is a good idea?”
“Rushing into things?” asked Tom, confused. Suddenly, it clicked. “You
think- no! No, nothing like that!”
Harry bit his lip. “You mean you didn’t-”
“No.” said Tom. “Look, Harry, I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
“You’d better.” said Harry, bewildered.

As soon as her quarters’ doors closed, B’Elanna sat bolt upright. She was
not, in fact, asleep. She had judged that this was the best way to effectively see
how he’d react.
Her hand wandered aimlessly to her lips, and she flopped back to her lying
position again. “Not time to think about it now.” she said to herself. “Got to
sleep.”
And she did.

“.and then she fell asleep. I took her back to her quarters.” Tom
finished. He was sitting at lunch with Harry, reliving the night before.
“Wow.” said Harry after a moment. “Now what?”
“What do you mean, `Now what?'” asked Tom.
“I mean, what are you going to do now? You shouldn’t just let this blow
over.”
Tom sighed and rested his chin in his hand. “I know, and I don’t know.”
he muttered.
“When you had a thing for Kes,” said Harry, lowering his voice, “what did
you do about it?”
“Nothing.”
“And where did it get you?”
“Nowhere.”
“Exactly!” said Harry. “Don’t let that happen with B’Elanna. She
deserves to know how you feel.”
Tom was exasperated by this time. “What would you suggest? You don’t
just go up to someone and say-”
“-anyone sitting here?”
Tom whipped around. B’Elanna stood behind him, holding a mug. He
was suddenly aware that his face was as red as his uniform as he said, “No. Go
ahead.”
B’Elanna took the seat next to him. Taking a sip from her mug, she asked,
“Harry, would you excuse us for a minute?”
“No problem.” said Harry. “I need a drink anyway.” He walked to the
other side of the room, where Kes was standing.
“Something I can help you with, B’Elanna?” asked Tom.
“Maybe.” she replied. “Look, uh, this isn’t going to come out right-”
“Say it anyway.”
“Tom,” she continued, deciding to just get it out, for God’s sake, “I wasn’t
asleep.”
It took a moment to sink in. “Oh.” said Tom. There was an awkward
pause. “Well.” he finished.
“Maybe,” she concluded, “it’s a good thing I wasn’t.”
“Really.” said Tom, not sure if he believed her. “So, where are we now?
We’ll be here for awhile, and if we keep hedging the issue, then we won’t-”
“You talk too much, Tom.” said B’Elanna, smiling. She took his face in
her hands and kissed him, right there, in the Mess Hall. They didn’t notice the
people, including Janeway, staring at them; nor did they notice Kes and Harry
smiling at each other.
Tom looked at B’Elanna and smiled. “Finally.” he said.
Someone applauded.
Pretty soon, the rest of the Mess Hall joined in. B’Elanna rested her cheek
on Tom’s shoulder, laughing softly at the clapping people.
“If we can do this,” murmured Tom absentmindedly, “Cupid is no longer
an archer: his glory shall be ours.”
“What?” asked B’Elanna.
“Nothing.” said Tom. “Just remembering a play I saw once.”
Together, they stood and left the mess hall.

“Speak, cousin; or if you cannot, then stop his mouth with a kiss, and let not him
speak neither.”
-Beatrice, Much Ado About Nothing

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